Devastating blow for Leinster and Ireland as Dan Leavy injury confirmed
Dan Leavy was an absolute titan for province and country last season but has been blighted with bad injury luck since the tour to Australia.
On Saturday evening at the Aviva Stadium, Dan Leavy - not long off the bench - rushed out of the defensive line to stick a hit on Billy Burns. It was exactly the type of gusto and bite we have come to expect of the Leinster flanker.
Within 60 seconds of that impact, Leavy was lying prone on the ground. All those watching - at the ground and on TV - knew it was bad as the stretcher immediately came on and there were no replays of the incident that caused him pain.
Following Leinster's 21-18 victory over Ulster, in the Champions Cup, Leo Cullen teed us up for the bad blow that would come soon after. "Yeah, Dan has had a bad injury," he began.
"I don't want to get into much detail but he's had a bad injury, so he'll be out for a while... With him and Josh (van der Flier), it has been a tough year. But that is sometimes the nature of our game. But, yeah, it's a tough one for Dan."
Just after midday on Monday came the news Leavy must have dreaded at the time - his season is over and he is also going to miss the start of next season, which includes the World Cup. A Leinster statement reads:
'Leinster Rugby can confirm that Dan Leavy had an initial scan yesterday on a complex knee ligament injury but needs further assessment this week. He has been ruled out for the remainder of the season and into next season to include the Rugby World Cup.'
Leinster Rugby can confirm that Dan Leavy had an initial scan yesterday on a complex knee ligament injury but needs further assessment this week. He has been ruled out for the remainder of the season and into next season to include the Rugby World Cup. pic.twitter.com/WoUPca6nRI
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) April 1, 2019
With Josh van der Flier also out for the rest of the season, after injuring his knee in the Guinness Six Nations win over France, Leinster and Ireland are suddenly not as flush in the back row department as they were at the turn of the year.
The topic of back row cover, and chances for up-and-coming stars, was discussed in the latest episode of Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby [from 45:00 below] and the name of an Ireland U20 Grand Slam winner cropped up.
"It'll be a good opportunity [with Leinster] for Scott Penny now," said former Ireland international Andrew Trimble. "Not with Ireland and the World Cup, but he'll get an opportunity for Leinster towards the end of the season and then you never know." Barry Murphy commented:
"Yeah, I think Scott Penny has been brilliant. Maybe not for Ireland at the World Cup as he has not been in a squad yet. He'll definitely get a game or two in the PRO14 and he may be on the bench against Toulouse, in the Champions Cup.
"Outside of that, I'd say Jordi Murphy [for Ireland]. Why look any further than that? He has been unbelievable for Ulster this season and he has done a job for Ireland a lot in the past and he is an out-and-out No.7."
Max Deegan is another Leinster back-row that could stake a claim over the next couple of months. One players' horrid misfortune is an opening door for another.
Rugby is cruel, but it is also relentless and waits for no-one.